This is a serial about love and awakening. Previously: I tell Billy not to contact me again. I feel relieved, elated, but then comes the crash. Later I would learn the crashing is a sign of love addiction. To see all posts in chronological order, Click Here.
I was alone, facing a weekend with no plans. I’d been invited to a party but was not up to going, fearing I’d be giving off waves of neediness.
I called a friend, Louise, picked up Thai food and headed for her house where we ate in the garden. She said what I’d experienced with Billy was a condensed version of what she’d gone through for 30 years with the husband she’d just divorced. “He always had to have a woman on the side,” she said, “and I hung in because of the positives – his brilliance, his playfulness and warmth — and of course our 4 kids. I kept hoping that in time, he’d come into a deeper relationship with me.”
She brings out an unusual Tarot deck created by a local artist, and we each draw a card to reflect where we are. I get… Kali! Goddess of death and destruction, wearing a string of skulls around her neck. Someone called Kali “the poster girl for what happens when a goddess goes off her meds.” In traditional Tarot decks, the picture is a tower being shattered by lightning. I can relate. An illusion is being shattered – the illusion that romance and physical chemistry will bring happiness.
We draw another card to show the future. I get “Healer of Wands,” with the message, “Emotional healing is coming.”
I wake up the next morning feeling better. I wash my hair, give myself a facial. Then I check the computer and my heart starts bumping. There’s an email from Billy with no words in the message box. The subject line says: email@example.com
Shit, that gets me. “imissu.” He overrode my injunction: “Don’t contact me again.” And of course I’m dying to see Crosby Stills & Nash. I call Sally, my “sponsor,” to keep me from weakening, but she’s not home. I call Gordon, a psychologist friend who’s a wise counsel, and he knows men.
I start telling him the saga of Billy but don’t get far before Gordon stops me. “Sara, I’ve heard enough. This is a dangerous guy.”
But, but… I tell him I haven’t experienced anything this good (or bad) in eight years. Gordon says, “It’s the ‘No,’ the takeaway that hooks you. The guy shows up and fixes your electricity (the kitchen dimmer) and creates another kind of electricity. You have doubts about the relationship, but when it’s suddenly taken away, you want it. You both have taken it away at different times. Now you’ve said no and he’s back in seduction mode. Where is your freedom, your wisdom in all this?”
“You deserve better,” Gordon says. “Not a better guy, but a better place to be, where you can stand in your truth, your wholeness and be with another person standing in his truth and wholeness. And from that place, you embrace.”
Yeah, I’ve heard the words before.
He says that when he met his current wife, they’d both been divorced for the third time and spent a lot of hours questioning their attraction, making sure it wasn’t coming from neediness or neurosis. “I remember telling her: Here we are. We’re in our 50s, we’re in bodies that are transient and we’re both gonna die. We’re like two rain drops falling, and we love as we fall.”
I hang up and send Billy a reply, “No thanks.”
Two weeks later, another missive lands. “I have wanted to respect your order that I not contact you, but if you change your mind about communicating, please let me know. I keep remembering our happy times together, how I felt at the hardware store when I was shopping for your dimmer, then going to buy roses and preparing our dinner. I remember how much laughing we did. Can we just have one conversation?”
I have trouble sleeping that night, trying to feel what my truth is. This is what I come to in the wee hours:
1. I’ve been wanting Billy to keep contacting me.
2. I thrive on the drama. It makes me feel charged and alive. I get excited and nervous watching for email, composing responses and having conversations in my head.
3. I still have hope — that he’ll see the light, be willing to commit. I want the upside of the roller coaster without the down.
4. This is folly! Delusion!
But when the phone rings and I see his name on caller ID, I pick up. “Why are you calling, Billy?”
“I just want to know, how’s your collar bone?”
“How’s the script coming?”
“We’re doing another rewrite. Billy, I’m not up for chatting…”
But he interrupts, asking if I’ve been listening to Oprah’s online class with Eckhart Tolle. That gets me going; I’ve been listening to each one, and I’m in awe that millions of people—mainstream people, Oprah’s people, who’ve never explored any spiritual idea outside the religion they were raised with — are listening to Eckhart talk about being present in the moment, watching one’s thoughts without attaching to them, and letting go of one’s “pain body.”
Billy says a lot of the teachings have been “useful to me,” and in no time we’re throwing words back and forth as in a fast tennis match, laughing all the while. The laughter melts me. I tell Billy I have to go rehearse with a choir I’ve joined. We’re going to sing at the Sunrise Retirement community next week.
“Ooo, can I come?” he asks.
“Why not? I want to hear you perform.”
“Trust me, you don’t,” I say. “Last month we sang at the “Reminiscence Courtyard,” a home for people who have Alzheimer’s and who can’t reminisce about anything. There were 15 people, most of them asleep in their wheelchairs or staring into space. When our leader, Michelle, said, `Hi! We’re the Ecstatic Choir and we’re here to sing for you,’ she got vacant looks. We ran through four songs, making egregious mistakes, singing in the wrong key, but it didn’t matter. When we finished, there was silence, except for one woman who started belting out random notes.”
Billy is laughing. “Maybe if you learned your parts better, you’d get a better gig.”
“Why can’t I come next week?” he asks. “People with dementia can come, but not me?”
Every time I stop laughing, he says something or I do that sets us off again. Then he turns on the charm. “How many men have begged to hear you sing at the dementia home?”
“How many men have jumped out of my bed to go on a date with someone else?”
“You’re tough,” he says.
No, I’m vulnerable.
“Okay,” he says, “I’ve made contact. It’s up to you to take the next step.”
I’m not going to take any step, Billy. My truth is: I don’t want to be involved unless it’s one on one. Your truth is: you can’t offer that. Has anything changed?
TO BE CONTINUED
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This blog is based on a true story, but names and identifying details have been changed to protect privacy.